A more humane Analyst

I don’t own a car at the moment, mainly because I don’t need one. Combine my lack of need with a lack of interest in cars as accessories and you have someone who uses public transport a lot. Of course, it’s easy for those who live in or around Madrid because public transport here is so good.

Gimme Shelter!

Gimme Shelter!

Anyway, I was standing at the bus stop near my apartment yesterday morning. It was not yet 10 AM but it was already hot. By mid afternoon I knew temperatures would reach 35º C in the shade. The problem was that there was no shade to be had at that bus shelter without hiding in the bushes around it, but then you cannot see the bus coming.

Then I realised that someone had applied a reusable solution to a particular situation without understanding the real need.

I can almost hear what was said at the meeting:

We need a bus shelter.

Aha! We  have those “out of the box”!


In other words, someone stated the requirement in language that evoked existing solutions. The result is a standard bus shelter that does not shelter anyone from the primary weather condition in these parts during several months of the year: skin blistering sun!

Nobody bothered to investigate the angle and arc of the sun in this particular case. Had they done so, they might have understood the real needs of that particular bus stop and tailored the solution so that it would actually provide shelter from the sun.

Moreover, if we look at the bus stop as part of an integration project, it is clear that the people responsible for the different aspects of the project did not communicate with each other, because the people who decided what trees and shrubs to plant blocked the view of the road so the commuter has to stand on the edge of the footpath in order to know whether the bus is coming. In other words, you cannot use the bus shelter if you want to be sure you don’t miss the bus!

You might think there is a policy of applying standard bus shelters to all bus stops with the knowledge that they will not suit in every case. However, not every bus stop gets a shelter, which means someone decided this particular stop needed a shelter and then went to the expense of providing one that might as well not be there.

And with my apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan:

My object is indeed
To understand the need —
To let the solution fit that need —
The solution fit that need;
And make each requirement
Most clearly represent
A source of clarity relevant!
Of clarity relevant!

By the way, in this particular case, all they had to do to tailor the solution to the need was install the shelter backwards and use opaque panels at the back instead of clear glass.


  • Re-usable solutions are great, but re-use for its own sake without resolving the underlying business need is a waste of the money re-use is meant to save
  • Make sure the requirement states the real business need and is not just a solution masquerading as a requirement

Related posts:

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

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